Since my last post about feeling sorry for myself for everything we have lost, I have truly given it some thought and realized what is really bothering me and that is....
I don't know what to do or how to act without children in my life.
I got married the first time at 16, had 3 children spaced evenly out and during that time, tragedy struck and I lost my youngest child to an unknown lung condition that haunts me to this day.
I went to work and worked two jobs several months after and during this time, separated and then took my sons and moved to Washington state, lived with some friends, worked, helped them with their 2 little girls and eventually met and married the love of my life.
My husband married me with 2 sons and then we had 2 more sons and as they got older, family dynamics changed, my 2 oldest sons moved in with their dad to be around more family, the 2 youngest attended school.
My oldest married, had 2 children, left his wife behind and she called me one day to take on a temporary basis my 2 grandchildren until she got back on her feet.
During this time, I was raising 2 sons, 2 grands, working full-time, going to school full-time and my husband (the very same love of my life) and I were separated. I am thankful to him that during our separation, he took the kids on days I had no daycare or sitter.
My daughter-in-law got on her feet and took her children back with her and I am so proud of her and how her life changed for the best.
Hubby and I got back together, we moved out in the country, we were working the 2 boys at home were going to school and or working and then we discover we are going to be grandparents and with no place to go, we took in mom as well.
That baby changed our life in 2001, but we still did things like long motorcycle rides, overnight trips, vacations to WA (we were living in AZ at the time), working full-time jobs, I was completing my Masters in Human Resources.
Our youngest moved out and then our oldest son, wife and baby girl left to northern AZ. Soon, we wound up with custody of her and then in 2004, we were granted guardianship of 3 of 4 of the siblings as the 4th had not been born yet.
In 2008, I was granted sole and legal custody of all 3 and for the past 15 or so years since the oldest was a baby, we have taken care of them.
We have bandages cuts, sat with them through tonsil surgery and nursed them back to health, rushed them to emergency rooms for dog bites, high fevers, walked the youngest into the operating room when he needed his ears repaired, nursed tummy aches, held them crying with broken hearts, refereed arguments, celebrated birthdays, attended musical and sports performances and just been there as if we were their parents, day in and day out without fail.
We were a family. We always knew a day would come and their dad would get out of prison, he would move in and a transitional phase would happen and we would be phased out to be grandparents just like we are to our 2 youngest grandchildren who live in AZ.
The 2 youngest we video chat with, talk on the phone, send gifts, help with school clothes and when they came to visit in December, it was a great time to spend with them. They have always been raised by their parents.
When I see grandparents flying to visit their grandchildren or whom live close to each other and they don't see them for months, I try to figure out why my mind and heart feels so broken.
Then, it dawned on me. This wasn't transitional at all. One minute they were in our home and the next, they were ripped away. It is a long story and one to exhausting to tell. To much pain and heartache in the past few months. Had it been slow, I think I would have adapted, but this is painful!
I do NOT know how to be a grandparent to these 3 kids. I do NOT like having to be chastised for doing things for them by their dad I have always done without permission like texting them to go on a walk and then finding out they didn't ask to go. When I have always just taken them with me.
I am trying to adapt. I am trying to be just 'Ranny,' to visit when invited, to still have family dinners once in awhile, to do family things but it is hard.
Yesterday my granddaughter told me she was getting off at the bus stop near my house to come and do some cleaning for me. I told her she had to talk to her dad so he knows. This I do understand.
But it is hard when I see all of their grades falling, they don't care anymore about school, they have no place to be because the home they are in is crowded and not meant for 7 people, when I see my granddaughter who has been bullied at her middle school for years with nothing being done, all of a sudden getting into trouble for fighting back with the bullies and she is the one being punished.
I need to remember, I am a grandparent. Life should be about my husband and I and doing some traveling, enjoying life, NOT about being afraid what is going to happen if I don't answer a text on the first try.
God has us where we should have been many years ago, together in our twilight years, without children and an opportunity to do things and enjoy life.